Trip Date 08/19/2017
Posted On 05/18/2018 17:57:09
Destinations | Hawaii | Kauai | Swimming | Snorkeling | Lydgate Beach | Lifeguards | Fish
With our snorkel gear in tow, we "checked out" beach chairs and left our hotel dressed for our first swim and snorkel adventure in Kauai. On our way to the park, we purchased a grab and go breakfast recommended by an Oahu couple who we met while relaxing in our hotel hot tub.
If you enjoy the water and have two or more hours to spend on the eastern shore of Kauai, this post is for you. Read on for an overview of our experience at this no entrance fee park which included picnicking, snorkeling and relaxing. If you have kids who enjoy swimming or snorkeling (or who want to learn), the rather calm waters with no coral make this park a "do not miss" location!
Morning Picnic at Lydgate Beach ParkUpon arrival at Lydgate Beach Park located on Nalu Road in Wailua, we found an empty picnic table and chowed down. With breakfast out of the way, we had time to explore the park. Based on the near full parking lot we thought the park might feel overcrowded, however just the opposite was true. While there were a lot of people, due to the park's vast size, everyone was fairly well spread out. In addition to the sunbathers, there were celebrations going on under the group pavilions, family lunches under the covered picnic tables and on blankets, swimmers, snorkelers, people trying to escape the sun with the protection of umbrellas or trees and kids building sand castles. The park was very nice and had full beach services including lifeguards, restrooms and showers, as well as a playground and more.
Lydgate PoolsWe unloaded our beach and snorkel gear from the car and scoped out a shady place to relax near the Albert S. Morgan Sr.'s Lydgate Pools. The two pools, inspired by Albert Morgan during a vacation in Sorrento, include an "inner" pool (smaller and shallower for children) and an "outer" pool (for swimming and snorkeling), both surrounded by boulders intentionally placed in order to form a breakwater.
Snorkeling in Lydgate PoolsAfter letting our breakfast settle, we sat on a couple of the boulders making it easier to adjust our masks, snorkels and fins, and then into the outer pool we went! While not densely populated in most areas of the pool, there was a wide variety of tropical fish and some that I have not seen in previous snorkeling spots. The Great Barracuda (one of the first fish that Scott spotted) and the Needlefish, with its long pointy nose, were not as colorful as some fish but definitely less common in snorkel sites which I have visited in the past.
The water was clear and calm, not too cold nor too deep, and without coral - all of which contributed to making swimming in the pool easy. A sign near one of the bath houses helped me to identity some of the fish including the blue Saddle Wrasse, but we still could not identify them all.
There were lots of Sergeantmajors and other white colored fish.
We saw yellow, golden and tan colored fish including the Raccoon Butterflyfish as well as some fish with similarities to the Grey Damselfish.
We chatted with others in the pool, discussing how the fish got in the protected waters - did they swim / jump over the boulders or did they find crevices in the breakwater large enough to swim through? It seems like either option could be plausible for the smaller fish, but what about the larger fish? Only the fish know for sure! With a height nearing twelve inches, the Yelloweyed Surgeonfish were the largest fish that we saw, and they were an amazing sight to see as we usually found them in schools numbering twenty or thirty or more.
We also saw a few other schools of smaller light colored fish.
After removing our snorkeling apparatus, we sat with the company of the chickens while we dried off and watched others both in and out of the water.
This might have been the first time that I snorkeled in waters without coral - or at least the first that I can remember. Hopefully it will not be the last, as I would love to return to this park.
Tips for a Visit to Lydgate PoolsRead on for a few tips to help you prepare for your Kauai snorkeling adventure:
- If you enjoy snorkeling (or want to give it a try), this is the perfect location. The calm waters are home to a variety of fish, but the water lacks coral - so you don't have to worry about getting scraped from accidentally swimming too close.
- Before traveling to Hawaii, consider packing your own snorkel gear.
- When packing for the park, make sure you have beach chairs or a beach blanket, as well as towels. (If you are staying in a hotel or AirBnb, check to see if they are available to check out for your stay - or at least for the day.) As the park is a great place to picnic, consider also packing either a meal or some snacks - or, like we did, stop at a grocery store and pick up some food and drinks while on your way to the park.
- Last, but not least, bring your underwater camera! If you don't have one, consider buying an inexpensive one like we did - we love having digital memories of our entire vacation.
My Fitbit Saga . . . ContinuedBefore heading to the grocery store, I spent the morning attempting to charge and reset / test my Fitbit - but to no avail. After my camera came back to life, I held on to hope that my Fitbit would also regain consciousness, however as each day goes by, the chances appear to be waning.
Kauai's South ShoreIf you can't get enough of swimming with the colorful fish read our post titled "Snorkeling on the South Shore" for some other nearby snorkeling spots.
Snorkeling in KauaiWhat's your favorite snorkeling spot on the Hawaiian island of Kauai - and why?
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